But I Don’t Know Anything About Cars: Oil Changes

its time to take your car home! But if this is your first time owning a car, or if you’ve never known very much about how to care for a car, you should make sure to learn about proper maintenance techniques so that you can make the best of your vehicle. If you’re still not sure which car you want to purchase, be sure to check out the other articles in the “I Don’t Know Anything About Cars!” series.
There are lots of things that need maintaining on a vehicle, but one of the more common and important maintenance items for your vehicle is the oil changes. You may be wondering why you should care about your oil levels and why you need to maintain the oil so vigilantly. That is because the oil in your vehicle is essential to the life of your engine. The engine has many metal parts that are moving when the vehicle is turned on, and if those metal parts are left to rub against each other without lubrication they can easily grind against each other and wear each other down. The oil allows the gears and parts to slide against each other with ease, reducing the effect that the sliding has on the wear of the parts. This is why it is absolutely essential to keep clean oil in the vehicle. If the oil gets gritty and dirty it loses the ability to keep the parts from grinding against each other and will eventually become as bad as or worse than having no oil in the vehicle at all. With this article, we are going to look at how often you should change your oil, how to check your own oil, and what kind of oil is right for your vehicle.

So how do you know when it is time to change your oil? The most commonly recommended interval is once every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first, though many claim that the three thousand miles is the best indicator of when to do an oil change. However in recent years there has been some debate over whether the three thousand mile standard is still relevant. With most new vehicles the oil change can wait for about seven thousand five hundred miles, or even ten thousand depending on which vehicle you have and how new it really is. The important thing to remember when deciding on how long to wait before getting your oil changed is whether it is really worth it to wait. With modern vehicles you definitely should be able to wait longer than three thousand miles, but be careful if you’re considering waiting as many as ten thousand. Your vehicle might be up to the challenge, but is it really worth the risk to your engine? You may be able to save money on oil changes, but the wear and tear on your vehicle will be costly in the long run. If you truly are concerned about changing your oil too soon, you can always check the oil yourself and use that information to decide if it is time for a change.

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Before you start to check your oil make sure you park your vehicle on level ground and have the engine stopped for five minutes before you get into checking the oil. In order to check your own oil you will need a clean rag. Try to find something that will not leave a lot of lint on the dipstick. You can find the dipstick under the hood of your vehicle, and you should pull it out of its tube. The handle of the dipstick is commonly colored brightly to help you find it. After you have pulled out the dipstick you can check the quality of the oil by touching it and rubbing some oil between your thumb and forefinger. If the oil feels gritty or if it smells burnt then it is time for an oil change. You should also wipe the dipstick off and put it back into the tube so that you can get fresh oil on the dipstick. Then you should carefully pull the dipstick back out of its tube, and check to see where the oil liquid lies on the dipstick. There should be two notches indicating the minimum and maximum amount of oil that should be in the vehicle. You want the oil levels to lie in between these two notches. If the oil is low you should go ahead and refill it. You will need a funnel and the right kind of oil for your engine for this step. You need to locate the cap to fill the engine oil, which should be labeled. If you have difficulty determining which cap belongs to the oil filler, consult your car’s manual. Once you have unscrewed this cap go ahead and pour in a little oil. You should then wait a few minutes before checking the oil levels again to give the oil time to reach the bottom of the engine. Be careful not to overfill the oil because this can lead to damage. You may need to repeat this process several times before the oil has been filled.